Obscurity Knocks

Earnest, empathetic, industrious, unpretentious, gay Virgo in Milwaukee with a great life, amazing friends, and a wonderful family.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I have a big smile on my face today because this morning "The Group" received an email from Barbie letting us know that she and Chad got engaged while vacationing on the Oregon coast. I'm so happy for Barbie.

I met Barbie back in February 2001 at a dinner at the now-closed Dancing Ganesha restaurant. Since then, she has been a tried and true friend, and it's also been nice getting to know Chad over these past couple of years.

At this stage of the game, I've more-or-less given up on the idea of ever getting engaged myself. Since I've let go of that (well, as much as a Virgo can let go of anything), it's easy to be happy for my friends. I am genuinely happy for Barbie and Chad. Life is full of much joy.

It's fun to have a wedding to look forward to. Mazal tov Barbie and Chad!

Mama Mia!

Ruben posted his review of Mama Mia!, and now that I've seen it, I'll do the same. Let's face it, the screenplay for this movie and the Broadway show on which the film is based is tissue paper thin. Someone said, "Well, let's figure out a way to make a show featuring Abba songs." And they invited this lame story about a girl getting married with three potential fathers. For the most part, I agree with the points that Ruben made. Meryl Streep is amazing. I firmly believe that she is the greatest living actress. Pierce Brosnan's singing was atrocious and brought the whole film down. In spite of my criticism of the weak storyline, there's no denying that Abba songs are fun, catchy, and infectious. So on that level, the movie works since it has two excellent qualities: La Streep in the lead and lots of Abba songs. Throw in beautiful Greek Isle scenery, no violence, and a homosexual Colin Firth, and you're got a fun summer movie. I give it a 7 out of 10.

Target update

I went to the Miller Park Way Target last night. And to answer the anonymous person who commented on the prior Target post, no, I don't buy groceries at Target. But I do buy Clif Bars at Target. And if I'm running low on orange juice, cereal, or milk, I'd gladly purchase those items at Target.

weekend report

Saturday morning did my 16 mile training run. Then to Chicago for this wedding of Bobby’s college friend. She’s Sri Lankan. Well, she was born and raised in Chicagoland, but her ethnicity is Sri Lankan, so the food was mostly vegetarian and very excellent. The groom is Indian, but his parents live in Tanzania. Their actual weeding was in Tanzania – a Hindu ceremony that looked quite lovely from the photos they showed. This was the Chicago reception with 430 guests – wow. Lots of women in saris. The whole thing was interesting and a far cry from the Minnesota/South Dakota Lutheran wedding reception in the church basement with ham sandwiches. Bobby played a few numbers on the piano and also sang some Stephen Sondheim duet called "It Takes Two" with another music teacher.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Existential crisis of the day

Virgo existential crisis of the day: should I go to the Target on Miller Park Way (6.3 miles) or the one on Chase Avenue (6.5 miles)?

Ruben, Mark, Andy, Kelly, Anne, and Brad all shop at the Chase Avenue location. Michelle, who makes more trips to Target than anyone I know, goes to the Miller Park Way location. I tend to prefer the Miller Park Way location because it's newer and it has more grocery items than the Chase Avenue location. But sometimes I think that I should go to the Chase Avenue store because I could potentially run into Ruben, Mark, Andy, Kelly, Anne, or Brad, and I always enjoy socializing.

I wonder which one John M. goes to. Or does John M. even shop at Target? Humm, I can't really picture him at Target, but who knows.

I think that Sarah French does most of her shopping in Racine. And I think that Barbie goes to a Target way up in Grafton (20.8 miles).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Abby update

Abby, my niece, is now 18 months old, and Uncle Steve thinks that she's the cutest little girl. She is quite the talker. One of her latest things is that Dave or Sara will ask her, "Abby, what does Uncle Steve do?" She resonds by saying, "Eats brownies!" Truer words were never spoken.

On or about October 25, Abby will be a big sister, as Sara and Dave are expecting their second child. Soon I'll have another niece or a nephew. Very exciting!

The final photo shows Abby enjoying a cream puff at the Wisconsin State Fair.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

George Michael concert

Kelly and I went to the George Michael concert last month at the United Center in Chicago. It was an excellent and very fun show. Kelly and I met back in 1986 in junior high, so in a way this experience brought our friendship full circle.

Set list: Waiting, Fast Love, I'm Your Man, Father Figure, Hard Day, Everything She Wants, One More Try, Different Corner, Easier Affair, Too Funky, Star People. [Intermission. ] Faith, Spinning The Wheel, Feeling Good, Roxanne, Kissing A Fool, Amazing, Flawless, Outside, A Different Corner, Careless Whisper, Freedom 90.

On the way to Chicago, I told Kelly that I really wanted to hear "I'm Your Man," but *knew* that he wouldn't do it. Imagine my surprise when it was the third song! Excellent. Other highlights were "Fast Love," "Father Figure," "Everything She Wants," "One More Try," "Too Funky," "Faith," "Careless Whisper, and "Freedom 90." As you can tell, I like the hits.

Kelly is a huge George Michael fan, so it was fun to share the experience with her. George's voice is in top form, so the concert was well worth the price of admission. I got goose bumps during "Father Figure," felt like I was back on the dance floor at Club Marilyn in 1992 during "Too Funky," and was jumping up and down dancing most of the time.

As Kelly would say, "It doesn't matter if you're gay or straight, you just want him." While I'm not sure I'd go that far, I definitely had a great time at the show.

enough posts for one day

OK, that's enough posts for one day. It gets me caught up with photos and summer activities. To do list: list of Brad's, Anne's, and my favorite albums and songs. But that can wait for another day.

Bobby zip lining

Bobby had zip lined before in Costa Rica, so he was an old pro.

me zip lining

I hadn't ever been on a zip line. It's a great ride, but I wish that it had been higher and longer.

rock climbing

Rock climbing is also lots of fun and a neat challenge. I'm definitely game for doing it again in the future.

more rappelling

Once you get over the fact that you're not going to fall, rappelling is great fun. You just need to train your mind that you're harnessed in, it's quite a thrill.


Here we are rappelling in Utah.


On our final morning in Utah, we went on an excursion with Paragon Adventures with some nice and knowledgeable guides and other spa guests for hiking, rock climbing, rappelling, and on a zip line. It was very fun. I was nervous beforehand because I had never rock climbed or rappelled before. The guide assumed I had rock climbed before, because he said that I was pretty good. So I guess that's good.

Bobby yodeling in Echo Canyon

Whoops - forgot to post this video of Bobby yodeling in Echo Canyon at Zion on the way to Observation Point.

strenuous hike at Green Valley

One morning at Green Valley we went on a strenuous hike with two fun guides and some other spa guests. It was more dangerous than the hikes we did at Zion and Bryce, but also quite fun. Above you can seem some photos of us navigating over a red rock canyon.

Green Valley Spa

Following all of our hiking at Zion and Bryce, Bobby and I checked into the Green Valley Spa in St. George, Utah for a few nights. It's quite a nice place, although it was a bit hot during the day, but we knew that in advance. And that's why we got a two for one rate, so it was worth it. They give you three meals a day cooked fresh by their chefs. It's all incredibly healthy, so we ate very nutritious and good for you meals. So much so that I had to sneak out the afternoon of the second day to find a Coke to cure the pounding headache I had as a result of no caffeine.

I had two massages designed for athletes while at Green Valley. Both helped with the tension that I get in my lower back from running. They also worked on my feet and neck quite a bit, which felt good.

There were also lectures you could attend on various wellness topics. We went to one on the healing power of music. This focused primarily on Asian/Eastern instruments. We also went to a lecture on nutrition that made me want to give up drinking Coca-Cola, but I probably won't!

I swam laps each day, we played tennis, we did a stretching class, Bobby went to yoga. Overall, it was very active yet relaxing for a spa.

One night we went skinny dipping in the pool and hot tub. Bobby was a bit apprehensive, but I wasn't worried. Why not live it up?

Hoodoos at Bryce

Being familiar with the band the Hoodoo Gurus and their song "What's My Scene" from the 80s, I had incorrectly assumed that hoodoo was a nonsense word. Turns out that a hoodoo is the name given to the rock formations at Bryce Canyon. The final photo here shows two cool hoodoos that Bobby referred to has "his guys." Formed by time and the wind, the hoodoos are fascinating and beautiful.

more Bryce photos

I learned that Bryce Canyon, Zion, and the Grand Canyon form what is called the Grand Staircase. The bottom of Bryce Canyon is the top of Zion; the bottom of Zion is the top of Grand Canyon.

The second photo shows a rock formation that looks like Queen Victoria, and I am paying her homage.

Bryce Canyon National Park

We also spent a day at Bryce Canyon National Park. Bryce is amazing. You feel like you're looking at a movie set and that the scenery can't be real, but it is. While Bryce is spectacular, Zion has a soul, and I liked Zion better. Nevertheless, I was really glad that we visited Bryce.

leaving Zion

Following our hike to Observation Point, we had a delicious lunch at the Zion Lodge, followed by frozen boysenberry yogurt outside.

I can say without hesitation or reservation that Zion is one of the most beautiful places I have been fortunate to visit.